Bull Dogs rally near end of close meet against East

In a girls track and field meet that was as close as it has been in several years, Columbus East pushed perennial power Columbus North until the end.

The Olympians trailed by only four points with two events remaining. But the Bull Dogs, as they usually do, continued their dominance in the distance events by pulling off a 1-2-3 sweep in the 3,200 meters to clinch the victory.

East won the 4×400 relay to cut the final margin to 70-62. North ran away with the boys meet 92-40.

“I told them, crosstown rival and everything, you never know what’s going to happen,” East girls coach Glen Brown said. “As long as we come to perform our way, which is doing our best, then things can happen, and we came close.”

Besides the 3,200, which was won by North’s Rachel Brougher in 11 minutes, 30.4 seconds, the Bull Dogs swept the 1,600 and 800. Sierra Lax won both of those events, clocking 5:23.1 and 2:28.6.

Lax, who normally runs the 3,200, was running the 1,600-800 combo for the first time.

“I was happy to run the 1,600,” Lax said. “I ran it alone, but in the 800, I had Arig (Tong) to push me. I was really happy with both of the races. It was a new double for me, and I look forward to doing it more in the future.”

North also had wins from Katrina May in the pole vault (12 feet), Jahna Smiley in the high jump (5-0), Maura VanDeventer in the 100 hurdles (17.0) and Roxana Mendoza in the 300 hurdles (52.5). The Bull Dogs took the 4×800 relay (10:25.8).

Kayla Gastineau led the Olympians with wins in the long jump (15-1 3/4) and 100 (13.3). Korin Humes took the shot put (30-0), Beyoncey Coleman-Turner captured the discus (121-1), Katie Mack won the 400 (1:04.3), Cortney VanLiew took the 200 (27.7) and East captured the 4×100 (52.3) and 4×400 (4:18.1) relays.

“East is a good team,” North coach Lou Sipe said. “They have a lot of good athletes. We just have to keep working hard and are looking forward to conference (Indiana) next Friday night.”

On the boys side, North’s Mitchell Burton won the 100 (10.9) and 200 (22.7) and anchored the winning 4×100 relay (43.9).

The race of the night, though, came in the final event, the 4×400 relay. Burton and East’s Steven O’Neal got the baton at the same time and Burton led most of the final leg, but O’Neal caught him at the end to win in 3:31.4.

“I felt pretty good,” Burton said. “I wish I could have finished that 4×400 a little stronger. I’ve been training for it pretty much this whole year, and it feels good to come out and win.”

Other winners for the Bull Dogs were Brigham Kleinhenz in the pole vault (11-6), Alex Algee in the long jump (21-6 3/4), Triston Perry in the 110 hurdles (15.2), Eli Fischer in the 1,600 (4:40.1), Robert Pflueger in the 400 (53.5), Bryce Ables in the 300 hurdles (42.9), Chandler Steward in the 800 (2:04.0) and Ben Rankin in the 3,200 (9:49.2). North also took the 4×800 (8:28.6) and 4×100 (43.4) relays.

The Olympians had a big bright spot when Rhett Myers threw a school-record 167-7 in winning the discus. Myers also took the shot (49-3), and T.C. O’Neal captured the high jump (5-11).

“We have some holes in the lineup that against a good team like Columbus North, it’s hard to make those points up,” East boys coach David Miller said. “We came up short in a couple events that we were hoping to do better in. The 4×400 had a great time, and Rhett breaking the school record was great for him.”

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Ted Schultz is sports editor for The Republic. He can be reached at tschultz@therepublic.com or 812-379-5628.